The goal is for the cat to learn to associate the carrier with positive experiences & routinely enter voluntarily. Here are some helpful hints.
- Make the carrier a familiar place at home by leaving it in a room where your cat spends a lot of time.
- Place familiar soft bedding inside of the carrier. Bedding or clothing with your scent can make them feel more secure.
- Place treats, catnip or toys inside the carrier to encourage the cat to enter at home. Often, you will first see that treats are removed from the carrier during the night.
- It may take days or weeks before your cat starts to trust the carrier. Remain calm, patient and reward desired behaviors.
What type of carriers is best? Here are some crate recommendations.
- The best carriers are inexpensive hard-sided carriers that open from the top and the front, and can also be taken apart in the middle. An easily removable top allows a cat anxious, or in pain to stay in the bottom half of the carrier for examinations. Your veterinarian can often do the examination in the bottom of a well-designed carrier. Avoid carriers that require a cat to be pulled from or dumped out for an examination.
- Choose carriers that are sturdy, secure, and stable for the cat, as well as easy for you to carry. Carriers should be seat-belted into the car to keep your cat safer and to reduce the bumpiness of the ride.
- Some cats like to see out, whereas others are less anxious when the carrier is covered with a blanket or towel to prevent seeing the unfamiliar.
If a cat needs to come to the practice right away, and is not yet accustomed to the carrier, the following recommendations may help clients:
- Start by putting the carrier in a small room with few hiding places. Bring the cat into the room and close the door. Do not chase the cat to get them into the carrier. Encourage the cat with treats or toys to walk into the carrier.
- If your cat will not walk into the carrier, and your carrier has an opening on the top, gently cradle your cat and lower into the carrier. Another option is to remove the top half of your carrier while getting the cat to go into the bottom half, and then calmly replace the top.
- Use familiar bedding inside the carrier. Consider use of synthetic feline facial pheromone (Feliway) analog spray in the carrier at least 30 minutes prior to transport to help calm the cat.